Colour has a tremendous effect on our health and well-being but it’s something we take for granted.
Colour has been used for healing since ancient times by many different cultures. The use of colour therapeutically helps to restore wholeness, balance and health on all levels of being, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
You can use colour at home and in the workplace to bring about change and improvements to overall health and well-being. This may be through the relief of stress and tension, through revitalisation, relaxation or establishing a greater amount of peace and harmony, as well as promoting wellness.
Every Friday our very own Joanne Lee shares a ‘feel good tip’ designed to bring colour and the feel good factor into life 😉
Feel Good Friday Tip
Effects of Colour on our Health & Well-being
I’ve been providing colour therapy sessions for nearly 18 years and teaching colour therapy for 14 of them and the effects of colour never cease to amaze me.
Colour is light split into different wavelengths, vibrating at different speeds and frequencies. These wavelengths of energy are visible to us as colours. This is because an object can either absorb or reflect the wave of energy.
An object that absorbs all wavelengths and doesn’t reflect any is black. White objects reflect all the colours. An apple is red because it absorbs all the colours except red. Sir Isaac Newton discovered the colour of light through the prism. We can also see the seven colours in a raindrop, rainbow and a snowflake.
Visible light is made up of all the colours of the spectrum. In the winter the sun is further away from us, so we get less of the orange and yellow rays and more of the blue. That is why a lot of people end up with certain seasonal disorders. It is beneficial to bring in more yellow and orange colour during the fall and winter months. We know that the trees and foliage assist in this natural process of balancing by producing orange and yellow during this time.
Lets look at the science behind colour. Colour enters the eyes and stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands, which release substances that affect the endocrine system, glands and various body parts. If the pituitary and pineal glands do not get a balance of every colour, the hormone production can be inhibited or accelerated.
In order to be healthy we require the energy from the full colour spectrum. The best way to get all the colour energies is from the sun. When we are out of balance in one or more areas, we can bring certain colours into our bodies, our personal space and our environment to bring us into greater well being.
Colour healing goes back over 5000 years. From the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Native American, Aboriginal & Tibetans to present day healers and practitioners, all have used colour to help balance and harmonize people. The effects of colour therapy are non-invasive and can occur at a deep cellular level.
Chromotherapy also known as colour therapy or colour healing uses colour and light to balance energy wherever our bodies are lacking, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental.
The Science of Colour Therapy
Scientists have studied the effects of colour on our mood and way of thinking for many years. Since the time of Pavlov and his experiments with salivating dogs, psychologists have known that stimuli can take on the properties of other stimuli with which they are associated. Pavlov used a bell and some meat; current theorists are focusing on colours and the moods with which they are associated.
Since everyone has different experiences, there will be some variability of associations to colours. There also are some correlations that are specific to particular cultures. However, there are also universal associations that are applicable to nearly everyone.
Because of its association with nature and vegetation, green is associated with growth, fruitfulness and renewal.
- Red, being the colour of blood and fire, brings feelings of warmth, excitement, and passion
- Blues, referring to the sky, lakes, bodies of water, associate with spirituality, cleanliness and tranquillity
- Yellow is the colour of sunlight and fruits, and brings feelings of cheer hope, and vitality
- Orange, with its reference to fire and sunset, evokes feelings of energy and excitement.
- Purple, which rarely occurs in nature, is linked to spirituality, mysticism, creativity and royalty
In addition to mental associations, there are also physical responses to colour. Light energy stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands, and these regulate hormones and our bodies’ other physiological systems. Red, for example, stimulates, excites and warms the body, increases the heart rate, brain wave activity, and respiration according to Friedman.
Bright colours, such as yellow, reflect more light and stimulate the eyes. Yellow is the colour that the eye processes first, and is the most luminous and visible colour in the spectrum. There may be effects from colours that we do not even understand yet.
Neuropsychologist Kurt Goldstein found that a blindfolded person will experience physiological reactions under rays of different colours. The skin may be able to “read colour” and our bodies, minds, and emotions respond.
In England, a headteacher improved behaviour in students using “Kaleidoscope Therapy” in which coloured lights are projected around a room.
In the United States Pink has been used in jail cells to calm prisoners. The Director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Washington stated that “pink is a tranquilizing colour that saps your energy.”
University of Hawaii associate head coach George Lumkin was a member of the 1991 staff that saw visitor’s locker rooms at Iowa and Colorado State painted pink in the belief that the colour made players passive. They instigated a rule that a visiting team’s locker room could not be painted a different colour than the home team’s locker room. In other words, it could be pink, black or any colour of the rainbow, as long as both locker rooms were the same colour.
I want you to close your eyes and imagine your whole world without colour, everything is shades of grey and black. How does that make you feel? Dull, dreary, depressed? Now start to fill that world with bright colours, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigoes, violets, how do you feel now, happier, brighter, calmer?
Just as an estate agent will tell you to brew some coffee and bake some bread when showing viewers round your house to induce a feeling of homeliness marketers use colour to influence your buying decisions. One of the most obvious demonstrations of this is McDonalds who for a long time were associated with the colours red and yellow, the massive golden M and red cartons, why because red and yellow stimulate your appetite and McDonalds after all is a fast food restaurant. Nowadays they use the colours green and brown, why because those colours speak to us of eco friendly and healthy. ToysRus is another great example, remember the logo, signs and aisles, all primary colours.
How To Use Colour For Health & Well-being
Now we absorb and experience the effects of colour in many simple ways and you can do this at home very easily.
- Have a colour bath. Relax in the bathtub, have a foot bath during your shower or soak your hands and/or feet in colour
- Essential Oils can be used in diffusers, in a bath, body misters, room sprays or applied diluted in base massage oil on your skin
- Gemstones will radiate energy to you, not only their individual healing properties but the vibration of the colour they hold. Wear them, put them in your bath, in your pocket or purse, on your desk or hold them when you meditate
- Eat a rainbow selection of foods. Drink cranberry, tomato or beet juice to kick starts your day with some red vitality. Drink grapefruit or lemon juice to stimulate the digestive system with yellow energy. Herbs such as St John Wort (an orange energy) are good for depression and chamomile (a blue energy) are calming and healing
- Breathing, visualising colours, music, dance and sound are other ways to get colour as they work with the same frequencies
- Pick your clothing colours according to what you want to experience that day. Have you ever been in a shop, felt the urge to buy a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes, got home put them away in the wardrobe and then never worn them lol. There is a good reason for that, at the time you felt the urge to buy them your body was craving the vibration of the colour they held! By the time you come to look for something to wear you no longer needed that vibration. So next time you are out shopping, and you have to sudden urge to buy a bright orange top go and buy a bottle of orange juice, drink it then go back to the shop and see if you still want to buy that bright orange top. Socks and underwear are a great way of wearing colours you avoid because of dislike or due to fashion constraints.
- In your environment be aware of what you want to create; calm and relaxing or stimulating. For instance in bedrooms you want soothing, calm, sedating colours to help you sleep
- Find coloured glasses or use coloured filters in front of your glass and put in the sun to energise the water with whichever colour energy you want to bring in
- Get some sunlight, it has all the colours in it! Enjoy the sun every day, even when it’s cloudy you will still get the benefits
So as you can see the effects of colour are incredible and its easy to incorporate the use of colour to improve our health and well-being.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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